Well, how do you break a habit that just finds its way into your routine no matter how many times you try to quit it? How do you really go about doing it? What are the things you must be aware o?. Well, in this blog post, I will present my thoughts on how to get over a habit specifically the addictive sorts like dr*nking, sm*king etc.
I know this topic may not be easy to give simple solutions on, but I decided to voice my opinion on it hoping it would help someone. Alright, so we know breaking habits is one of the most difficult things to do, at least for some people who relapse back into old patterns again. The solution that I will give might seem way too simple for some people, but it has worked for me in the past and I hope it does for you too.
Read everything so that you are aware of each and every aspect of breaking habits.
Rule 1 : Know the reason why you want to quit it.
First thing you should be clear about is the reason why you want to quit the bad habit. The reason behind quitting the habit must be crystal clear in your mind. I repeat CRYSTAL CLEAR. If you aren’t really sure as to whether you want to quit the habit or not, then you will never be able to quit it. PERIOD. One reason could be the fact that you feel that your life would be much better if you didn’t have the habit in the first place.
Rule 2 : How to tackle the urge? Ignore it, don’t fight it.
Alright, to tackle the urge, don’t fight it. Don’t fight the urge. Now, it seems crazy right. But fighting the urge means you will end up doing it eventually. What you resist will persist. When you are resisting something, you are actually producing more of it in your life. So, that is the reason why when you find yourself fighting or resisting the urge of indulging in a bad habit, you end up doing it anyway. You probably know that from past experience don’t you, well if you’ve struggled with bad habits.
Now, you have to ignore the urge. That is really what you have to do. Don’t focus on it. Don’t think about it, think about something else that is worthwhile to do. Channel your energy in a different direction. Whenever the urge strikes, calm down and relax your mind. Remember the reason why you decided to quit the habit and then move on.
Rule 3 : The time to quit is now…. this very moment not tomorrow
Alright, it is essential to quit the habit right now. The reason behind this is because your life is in the present moment. What you are doing right now is defining your life. The past and the future both do not exist. What exists is the present moment. So, how you live your present moment is what defines you. Therefore, it is important to understand that you must quit the bad habit in the present itself. If you are indulging in the bad habit in the present moment, you have made NO PROGRESS.
When you think about leaving the bad habit in the future like most people would think ‘lets just leave it from tomorrow onwards’ or maybe ‘I will quit it later right now, let me just do it for some time’, you are already making the mistake right there, because what you are doing in the present moment is defining who you are. It is your responsibility of changing your identity and the time to do it is NOW.
The reason behind it because the next day, you will face the same problem that you are facing today itself. If you leave giving up the habit for the next day, you will get up the next day with the same mindset that you have today, with the same problem that you are dealing with today and it is highly probable that you might leave to quit the habit for day after tomorrow while you had planned to quit the habit tomorrow itself. Now, as you probably know that the tomorrow you will face the same challenge of giving up the habit that you feel today, why not face the problem today itself and get it over with. You will save your time.
Exception to this rule is if you are facing serious withdrawals. If your life is at stake, then obviously reduce the habit to a minimum level before you quit it. In case of serious dr*gs (I can’t write the word because of certain reasons, I know it sounds stupid), sometimes the withdrawals are so intense that one actually might not be able to survive it. In those cases, I won’t say much because I have never been in that situation. If you feel that your health will be at a risk if you quit the habit immediately, then reduce it gradually before you quit it. Obviously, seek professional help as fast as you can.
Rule 4: Experiences don’t matter
Experiences don’t matter. You probably want to experience the habit one more time before you quit it, probably thinking you are not ready to quit it yet. Well I got news for you. It doesn’t matter if you experience it one more time. Experiences of things you want to give up don’t matter at all. If nothing else, they will only produce yearning to do those things in future. When you know you won’t be doing that particular thing in future what is the point of doing it in the present moment.
Some people want the satisfaction of knowing what that thing felt like. How did it feel to experience that thing? What was it like to try that thing? Someone might think ‘I don’t want to regret NEVER knowing how doing that dr*g felt’ OR ‘I don’t want to deal with the regret of not trying that thing‘. This is a reason why many people end up trying things they regret later on in life.
It is important to realise that there is no point in trying things you don’t want in your life. There is no point whatsoever. There is no point in even knowing what that thing feels like. Talking about experiencing everything, there are several things to experience in life and you probably won’t experience all of them. There is a next level to almost everything in every category that you want to experience. Do you really think getting the experience of the particular thing that you want to try is going to give you satisfaction. You will find there will be several other similar things you will feel like trying. For example, you might want to know what it feels like to get drunk if you haven’t gotten drunk before. Later on, you might feel the urge to sm*ke cigg*rettes. And yet further you could feel the urge to try heavier dr*gs like hero*ne, met*adone etc. I know this example might be taking it too far but that was the only thing I could think of. I mean if your philosophy is to try everything then, there doesn’t seem any point as to why one would not hesitate to try heavier dr*gs like her*ine, fent*nyl etc. Would you not want the satisfaction of knowing what it feels like to try heavy dr*gs like hero*ne or other opi*ds considering the fact that the high you get from these dr*gs is way more than drinking alc*hol or smok*ng cigg*rettes.
Coming back to experiences, getting bitten by a snake just to see what it feels like is also an experience. Do you want to try that? No, well then how are you going to deal with not having the satisfaction of knowing what a snake bite felt like. I hope you get the point here. Well, the thing is that one wants to try things that one feels an inclination to. You will never find yourself wanting to experience things you don’t have an inclination to. If you kill the inclination you kill the need to try that thing. As simple as that.
So, remember experiences of things you want to give up don’t really matter at all. The things you do in the past are gone with the past. There is no point remembering them because life is in the present moment. In the future, you don’t want to be thinking of how it felt good when you used to sm*ke cigg*rettes in the past. Because, you have already decided that you want to give up sm*king and you won’t be able to experience it anymore unless you go back to it. So, the point here is also that if in the future you find yourself reminiscing about sm*king cigg*rettes in the past then that means you have not killed the inclination of the bad habit ie. sm*king. If you yearn for it, it means that the inclination is still there. So kill the inclination, kill the habit.
Rule 5: Weigh the pros and cons
This rule is somewhat similar to the first rule. Well, think about the pros and cons of the bad habit. Is it causing more harm than good. If the negatives outweigh the positives you know what to do ie. kill the habit. You might be indulging in the thing because it gives you pleasure. But you must remember is it worth what you are giving up because of it. Is your bad habit costing your precious time and energy. Do you think giving it up will lead to a better lifestyle? Can you get more in life if you give up the bad habit.
Well, think about the pros and cons and remember them the next time you think about relapsing back into it again.
Rule 6: Identify the need behind the habit.
Why are you indulging in the habit? What is the need behind it? Why do you really want to do it. Tackling the need is essential.
Well, identify the need and see how you can meet it otherwise. Find some other habit which is good for you that can tackle that need. For example maybe finding other things that you are passionate about. See how you can live your life without the habit.
Replace the bad habit with a good one, because when we remove a habit a vacuum is created, because of which it is usually replaced with a similar bad habit. Make sure that the bad habit is replaced with a good one that can tackle the need.
Create a good life for yourself. Identify things that you love to do. Have a vision as to how your life would be without the habit. Identify how you can be whole and complete without the bad habit. Work out a solution and create your life that way. This point is pretty hard to elaborate on, but I hope you get the message.
Rule 7: Remember habits will fade away after a certain point of time.
One usually feels like relapsing back into old habits till a certain point of time. But after a certain time period (not necessarily 21 days from my personal experience), you will eventually get rid of it. At that time, you won’t feel the urge to try the habit later on. So, remember habits will fade away eventually.
Rule 8: Refer to your subconscious mind
Whenever in any trouble, always refer to your subconscious mind. Ask your mind for guidance and it will guide you in the right path. It will present you with the answers that you are looking for. Don’t run away from things. Face them and you will find a solution.
The rules are my understanding. You may disagree or agree with them and following them is obviously your decision. However, I have just presented my view point. I tried tackling every aspect of it. Hope it helps. Well have a nice time.